Picnic
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These recipes are great for making in advance and then enjoying in the sunshine – especially as July is National Picnic Month! Just the thing for when you’re enjoying a long awaited get together with friends or having a chilled summer BBQ with your family.

Picnic

Claire Thomson’s Roasted Isle of Wight Tomato Falafels

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 1 hour

Cooking time: 15 mins

You’ll need:

350g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in cold water, drained

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2 – 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped

500g Isle of Wight tomatoes, cut in ½, or use Isle of Wight

cherry tomatoes

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp ground cumin 

1 tsp sweet unsmoked paprika 

50g Isle of Wight smoked sundried tomato, drained & chopped, or use 2 tbsp tomato puree

1 tsp salt

1 litre neutral cooking oil for frying the falafel

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Roast the tomatoes with a big pinch of salt and 2 tbsp of olive oil, skin side down for 15 – 25 mins until very soft and starting to caramelize a little. Remove from the oven and cool.
  3. Using a food processor, blend the roasted tomatoes with the garlic until smooth.
  4. Add the chickpeas to the food processor with the blended tomatoes. Add the shallots, sundried tomatoes or puree, spices and salt and blend until you have a coarse paste. Chill the mixture in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  6. Heat 5cm of oil in a saucepan at high heat to fry the falafel mixture in
  7. The mixture is quite wet and the oil is very hot so do be careful from here. Use two spoons- one to shape and one to scrape the mixture off. Drop spoonfuls of the batter into the hot oil. It should bubble and fry, quickly turning crisp and golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip the falafel over to fry on the other side for 1 ½ – 2 minutes more. Work in small batches, 3 or 4 at a time, removing the falafel with a slotted spoon when crisp and golden brown.
  8. Work in batches keeping the cooked fried falafel warm in the oven until you have used up all the mix.

Claire Thompson thetomatostall.co.uk

Picnic

Radish and Celery Potato Salad

Potato salad is a real crowd pleaser and this recipe, packed with extra crunch, has plenty to offer than flavour and texture. Perfect for lighter dining served with fresh fish or grilled chicken.

Serves: 4 (as a side dish)

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

You will need:

For the salad:

500g baby or new potatoes, halved if large

150g radishes, quartered

3 sticks celery, sliced

For the dressing:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp whole grain mustard

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

½ small pack chives, finely chopped

½ small pack of parsley, finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

What to do:

Place the potatoes into a pan of lightly salted water, bring to the boil and simmer until tender (about 10 minutes), then drain and set aside to cool.

Whilst the potatoes cool, mix together olive oil, whole grain mustard, a dash of white wine vinegar, chopped chives and parsley in a small bowl and season to taste.

In a serving bowl combine the dressing with the cooked new potatoes, sliced radishes and celery. Mix well and serve.

loveradish.co.uk

Picnics

Claire Thomson’s Isle of Wight Tomato and Saffron Risotto, With Arancini The Next Day

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 10 mins

Cooking time: 30 mins

You’ll need:

For the risotto – serve half the finished risotto, reserving at least 1.25kg to make arancini the next day.

900g Isle of Wight beefsteak or plum tomatoes, peeled if you like, any tough core removed, flesh and seeds roughly diced

5 shallots, peeled and finely chopped

4 tbsp. olive oil

175ml dry white wine

3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced

Sprig of fresh thyme, leaves picked 

Pinch of saffron, steeped in 2 tbsp. of boiling water

750g risotto rice

1.4lt hot chicken or vegetable stock

100g freshly grated parmesan

50g unsalted butter

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

What to do:

  1. If peeling the tomatoes, have a large pan of boiling water ready, slash each of the tomatoes with a sharp knife and plunge into the boiling water for 10 seconds, removing with a slotted spoon and putting to one side until cool enough to handle. The skin should slip off easily. If not, plunge in boiling water for 5 seconds more. Work in batches if necessary. Remove any tough core from the tomatoes and roughly dice the tomatoes, flesh, seeds and all.
  2. To make the risotto use a large saucepan over a moderate heat to cook the shallots in the oil for 3 minutes, to soften but not colour. Add the garlic and thyme leaves. Add the rice and stir briskly for a minute. The rice grains will go slightly milky and translucent at the edges.
  3. Add the glass of wine, saffron and the soaking water and stir rapidly until all the liquid has been absorbed. Add the tomatoes and a tsp of salt and stir well for a minute more. Reduce the heat to moderate – low. Add the stock, one ladleful at a time, ensuring each ladleful is absorbed into the rice before adding more. You should need to use all the stock, but risotto rice grains do vary in absorbency, so after around 15 minutes of cooking time taste the rice to check if it’s ready.
  4. After this time, you should be nearing the rice being adequately cooked, tender but with a slight bite to the very centre of each grain, if not, continue cooking for 2 – 3 minutes more.
  5. To finish the risotto, it must rest sufficiently. Add the butter and half the parmesan, season well with salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper, cover and set to one side for 5 minutes before serving.
  6. Perfect risotto consistency is a creamy, soupy mass, one that glides across a plate if tilted. It should never be starchy or clump together in a tight mass. Serve immediately at the table with the remaining parmesan. 

To make the arancini:

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 15 mins

Cooking time: 20 mins

Makes approx.10 arancini – using the reserved 1.25kg cooked risotto.

10 small cherry sized mozzarella balls, such as ciliegine or use bocconcini

5tbsp plain flour to dust

4 eggs, beaten

300g dry breadcrumbs or use panko

Neutral oil, to fry

30g parmesan, freshly grated, to serve

Lemon, cut into wedges, to serve

What to do:

  1. Using wet hands take clementine sized handfuls of the rice and compress into a ball shape. Insert your thumb into the centre and place a piece of mozzarella into the space. Cover the mozzarella, compressing the rice into a uniform ball shape.
  2. Repeat until you have used up all the risotto mix. Rest the shaped risotto balls on a large plate.
  3. Have the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs separate and ready on 3 large plates. 
  4. Gently roll each of the risotto balls first in the flour, then the beaten eggs and finally the breadcrumbs, compressing and compacting as much of the breadcrumb mix as you can onto the surface of the risotto ball. Work in batches until all the risotto balls have been floured, egged and breadcrumbed. Repeat the process, coating each arancini again first in the flour, then the egg, and finally the breadcrumbs.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  6. Use a deep sided saucepan and fill 1/3 of the pan with oil, never fill the pan with more oil than this as it will bubble up. Heat to a temperature of 180°C. A digital thermometer is best to test if the temperature is hot enough to deep fry, alternatively drop a thin slice of ginger or a cube of bread into the oiland if it floats and sizzles to the top within 60 seconds, the oil is at a good temperature to deep fry.
  7. Work in batches, carefully deep frying 2 or 3 arancini at a time, more and you will reduce the oil temperature too much, fry for around 3 – 5 minutes until golden brown and very crisp. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on the tray in the oven to continue heating through whilst you fry the remaining arancini, about 8 minutes in the oven should ensure the arancini are hot through and the mozzarella is beginning to melt.
  8. With the arancini all cooked and hot through, serve dusted with the grated parmesan and lemon wedges.

Claire Thomson thetomatostall.co.uk

picnic

Zespri™ SunGold™ Salad With Broccoli, Feta and Pecans

Serves: 2

Preparation time: 10mins

Difficulty: Easy

What you need:

1 medium broccoli, grated

1 avocado, sliced

3 Zespri Sungold kiwifruit

Pecans, toasted

Quinoa, rice or bulgar wheat, cooked and cooled

1 lemon

Feta

Half a pomegranate

Olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

What to do:

  1. Grate your broccoli, starting with the florets and stopping once you reach the hard stalk.
  1. Slice your avocado and kiwifruit.
  1. In a frying pan on a low heat with a little oil gently toast your pecans. 2-3 minutes.
  1. In a bowl stir together the quinoa and grated broccoli, seasoning with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon and a glug of olive oil.
  1. Assemble all of the ingredients, topping with a crumble of feta, a scattering of pomegranate and more seasoning.

Zespri™ SunGold™ Kiwifruit – zespri.com

Picnic

Radish Coleslaw

Serves 6

Preparation time: 10 minutes

You’ll need:

20 radishes

1 large carrot

6 shallots

4 sticks celery 

2 tsp white wine vinegar

100ml mayonnaise

3 tbsp natural yoghurt

What to do:

Coarsely grate the radishes and carrot, then finely slice the shallots and celery.

Mix together the white wine vinegar, mayonnaise and yoghurt and season. Then add to the vegetables and combine well until everything is coated.

Notes:

Serve with a salad dish, in a sandwich with cold meat or as an addition to any meal.

If made ahead give a good stir to re-combine all of the ingredients before serving.

www.loveradish.co.uk

Picnic

Beetroot Stained Boiled Eggs & Parma Ham Salad

Wow dinner party guests with this colourful salad topped with pink beetroot stained eggs, which are very much on trend. Borrowing their pretty pink hue from beetroot’s natural vibrant colour, these delicate pink eggs partner wonderfully with the earthy traditional beetroot, crunchy croutons, savoury Parma ham and fresh leaves.

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 10 minutes plus chilling (at least one hour)

Cooking time: 10 minutes

You’ll need:

For the salad

4 eggs

6 cooked beetroot

1 tsp olive oil

1 thick slice of bread, crusts cut off and ripped into small chunks

4 slices Parma ham, torn

1 bag Fresh & Naked Little Leaf salad

For the dressing

2tbsp olive oil

2tsp red wine vinegar

small bunch chopped parsley

What to do:

Put the eggs in a pan of water, bring to the boil and cook for 6 minutes. Drain and run under cold water to cool, then remove the shell.

Slice the beetroot and put a layer into a bowl small enough to hold the eggs snugly. Put the eggs on top then tuck more beetroot all around the eggs and add another layer over the top. Cover with cling film and chill for at least an hour, but preferably overnight.

When the eggs are done, heat the oil in a frying pan and add the bread, toss a few times to coat in oil and season. Cook for 3-4 minutes until crisp and crunchy.

Make the dressing by combining the oil, vinegar and parsley and seasoning.

Set the eggs aside and toss the beetroot (reserved from staining the eggs), leaves, croutons in a bowl with the dressing then tip onto a serving plate. Halve the eggs and lay them on top with the torn ham.

Cook’s Tips: Try to pack as much beetroot as possible around the eggs to stain them evenly. The longer you leave the eggs to stain, the stronger and more even the colour will be.

Juniperberry & Black Pepper Cocktail Beetroot can be purchased from Sainsbury’s, or choose a different flavour from the infused beetroot ready-to-eat range, which is available in major retailers and includes: Spicy Sweetfire Baby Beetroot (Tesco Finest), Sweet Chilli Rosebud Beetroot (M&S), Sweet & Spicy Chilli Beetroot (Waitrose), Juniperberry & Black Pepper Cocktail Beetroot (Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference), Sweetflame Beetroot (Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference), Pomegranate & Cumin Beetroot (Waitrose) and Honey & Ginger Beetroot (ASDA).

www.lovebeetroot.co.uk

picnic

Isle of Wight Mixed Cherry Tomato Focaccia

Serves: 6-8

Preparation time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Cooking time: 20-25 minutes

You’ll need:

340ml warm water

7g fast acting dried yeast

500g strong bread flour

800g mixed cherry tomatoes

Olive oil

8g Maldon sea salt

25g oregano

What to do:

Pour the warm water in to a large bowl and add the yeast. Whisk this together then add half the flour to form a very wet dough.

Place the bowl in a warm area to prove. After 40 minutes the dough should have risen, and you should now be able to see small bubbles within the mixture.

Add the remaining flour, salt and one tablespoon of olive oil and mix together thoroughly.

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead well until nice and smooth (about ten minutes). Place back in to a bowl, drizzle over a little olive oil and cover with a damp cloth and allow to prove once more (about 40 minutes).

When this is done turn out again on to a floured surface and stretch it to a large rectangle and then fold over on itself into thirds. Now there should be three layers.

Place on an oiled non-stick tray and drizzle with more olive oil. Push your fingers into the dough to spread it out and to make the ‘holes’. Pop a cherry tomato and oregano into each hole, pushing them down into the dough.

Allow it to prove once more until almost doubled in height (about 30 minutes) and then sprinkle over some Maldon sea salt.

Cook in a preheated oven at 220°c for 10 minutes. Turn down the oven to 200°c and turn the tray around. Cook for a further 15-20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and drizzle with a little more olive oil and fresh oregano.

picnic

Spicy Beetroot & Goats Cheese Tart  

Serves 4

Preparation time:  10 minutes

Cooking time:  20 minutes

You’ll need:

1 packet ready rolled puff pastry

180g sweetfire/chilli marinaded beetroot

150g cream cheese (we like Paysan Breton)

100g firm goats cheese (or any cheese you fancy!)

3 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed

Salt and pepper

A little beaten egg

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200⁰c
  2. Unroll the pastry and place it on a baking sheet.  Score a border around the edge of about 1cm and prick the base with a fork
  3. Cut the beetroot into halves or quarters, so that the pieces are roughly the same size
  4. Mix the cream cheese and the goats’ cheese and spread the mixture on the pastry base
  5. Top with the pieces of beetroot and sprinkle with thyme leaves and salt & pepper. Brush the edge of the tart with a little beaten egg.
  6. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes

www.lovebeetroot.co.uk

picnic

Zespri™ SunGold™ Kiwifruit Vegan Slices

Serves: 5-10

Preparation time: 30 mins

Freezing time: 6-8 hours

Rest time: 20-30 mins

Difficulty: Easy

What you need :

Base

175g medjool dates, pitted

65g rolled oats

55g almonds

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp ginger powder

Lemon layer

20g cashew nuts, soaked overnight in cold water

3 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp maple syrup

3 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Zespri™ SunGold™ Kiwifruit layer

190g cashew nuts, soaked overnight in cold water

1 Zespri SunGold, peeled and cut into pieces

4 tbsp water

2 tbsp maple syrup

3 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Toppings

2 Zespri SunGold kiwifruits, peeled and sliced

What to do:

Base

  1. Pour the boiling water over the dates, leave to plump up for 10 minutes, then drain the water.
  2. Blitz the oats and almonds in a blender, add the dates and spices, blend until smooth and doughy. Add a tbsp of water if needed to loosen the mixture.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a lined tin, press flat, place the tin in the freezer until needed.

Lemon layer

  1. Drain the cashews, transfer to a blender along with all the remaining ingredients, blend on a high setting until smooth.
  2. Remove the tin from the freezer, add the lemon layer, smooth down with a knife. Return the tin to the freezer.

Kiwi layer

  1. Drain the cashews, transfer to a blender along with all the remaining ingredients, blend on a high setting until smooth.
  2. Remove the tin from the freezer, add the kiwi layer, smooth down with a knife.

Toppings

  1. Arrange the kiwi slices on top of the kiwi layer. Place the tin in the freezer for 6-8 hrs. Remove the tin from the freezer for 20-30 mins.
  2. Prior to serving the dessert, cut into slices.

Zespri™ SunGold™ Kiwifruit – zespri.com

picnic

British Asparagus Tortilla

A twist on a classic Spanish dish, a real favourite in my household. A really speedy dish ideal for a quick family dinner.

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

You’ll need

1 bundle British asparagus

1 courgette thinly sliced

15g unsalted butter

2 cloves garlic crushed

200g Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and diced

1 red onion sliced

6 medium eggs, beaten

salt and pepper

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 200°c, and bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Fill another dish with iced water, large enough to fir the asparagus.

Drop the asparagus into the boiling water, bring back to the boil then cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove the asparagus from the boiling water with a slotted spoon, then plunge into the iced water to preserve the bright colour of the asparagus.

Meanwhile, in a non-stick pan fry the sliced courgettes in the butter then add the garlic and cook over a medium heat for around 6-7 minutes until almost sticky.

Using the same boiling water used to cook the asparagus, parboil the potatoes and cut into cubes, then add the potatoes and the onion to the pan and cook until softened.

Place the asparagus into the pan, season the beaten eggs with salt and pepper and then add to the pan. When the eggs have just set around the edges, transfer to the preheated oven for around 6-8 minutes or until the tortilla is set.

When cooked turn out onto a plate.

Cut the tortilla into slices then serve with some dressed salad leaves.

british-asparagus.co.uk

picnic

Quinoa ‘Tabbouleh’ With British Asparagus, Halloumi and Kale

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 10-15 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

You’ll need:

For the tabbouleh:

200g quinoa

350ml hot vegetable stock

2 bunches British asparagus, trimmed and sliced into bite size pieces

200g kale, torn into bite sized pieces

1/2 bunch spring onions, finely sliced

1 large bunch flatleaf parsley, chopped

a handful of radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced

200g pack pomegranate seeds

for the dressing:

juice of 1 lemon

1 tbsp runny honey

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tsp dijon mustard

6 tbsp olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

to serve (optional):

2 x 250g packs halloumi, cut into 1cm thick slices

1 tbsp olive oil

What to do:

Add the quinoa to a small saucepan and pour over the hot stock. Bring up to the boil, reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes until the grains are tender and the stock absorbed.

Meanwhile, make the dressing by adding the lemon juice, honey, garlic and mustard to a mixing bowl and whisking together. Slowly pour in the olive oil whisking until you have a thick creamy dressing. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Bring a large pan of lightly salted water up to the boil and tip in the asparagus. Simmer for 2 minutes until just tender but with plenty of bite. Remove with a slotted spoon to a colander and allow to drain then tip onto a plate and allow to cool.

Add the kale to the boiling water and cook for another 2 minutes then drain and rinse under cold running water to cool quickly. Drain well, ideally spinning dry in a salad spinner. 

Add the kale to the bowl of dressing, along with the spring onions, parsley, radishes and blanched asparagus. Toss together lightly to mix.

Once the quinoa is cooked, fork through the grains to separate and tip into the salad, lightly mixing through. Spoon onto a serving plate and scatter over the pomegranate seeds before serving.

If you are serving with halloumi, heat a griddle pan until really hot. Brush the halloumi slices with a little oil and grill on both sides until lightly charred and crisp. You may need to cook in batches depending how big your pan is.

www.britishasparagus.com

picnic

Roast Shallot and Broad Bean Cous-cous

Serves 4

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

You’ll need:

8 shallots, peeled and halved

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

200g cous-cous

300ml vegetable stock

200g broad beans

grated rind and juice 1 small lemon

150g feta cheese, crumbled (optional)

handful chopped fresh mint

salt and freshly ground black pepper

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5. Put the shallots in a small roasting tin and drizzle with the oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 10-15 minutes, until tender and golden.
  1. Put the cous-cous in a bowl and stir in the paprika. Pour over the stock and cover with cling film. Set aside for 10-15 minutes. Cook the broad beans in boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes, until tender. Drain and refresh under cold running water. Slip the beans out of their grey skins.
  1. Fluff up the cous-cous and stir in the beans, lemon rind and juice, feta (if using), mint and shallots.
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